POLICE are investigating the “methodical” destruction of hundreds of trees in a Scottish planting project.

Bob Glen has been spearheading efforts to reforest parts of Hillend Country Park – at the north-eastern edge of the Pentland Hills – for six years in memory of his late brother Duncan.

With the help of other volunteers, Glen had planted more than 830 trees – but they’ve “nearly all” been destroyed.

“The problem is trying to find a motive,” he told our sister title, The National. “Who in their right mind does this kind of thing?

READ MORE: Bupa Care Homes fined £400k after girl crushed by tree in Southampton

“For the life of me I cannot understand why, with all the publicity about climate change and the need to grow more trees, why anybody would go out of their way to cut these down.

“Area by area they went through. It’s not just a few kids having a bit of a laugh and pulling up trees. These have been methodically either pulled up or cut.”

Glen said that some of the destroyed trees – which ranged from oak and birch to hawthorn and rowan – would have been six or seven years old, and up to “six feet high already”.

The planting effort in the Pentlands had been ongoing for “three full seasons, three years”, with preparation work dating back years before that.

“I’d been looking after them at the allotment for two or three years, so it’s certainly more like five or six years’ work that’s been lost,” Glen said.

Forestry Journal:

A view of one area in Hillend Country Park where tree planting efforts were made (above) and (below) the aftermath of some of the destruction, which saw young trees cut down or pulled out at the root.

Forestry Journal:

Glen said he and his younger brother Duncan, who passed on 12 years ago, had been “brought up in Lanarkshire in a fairly desolate mining community” and they had first made efforts to plant trees there.

However, someone had taken to removing the plastic protectors on the young trees, meaning the saplings were easy pickings for passing deer.

Having seen the loss of tree planting efforts before, Glen said he was at first hesitant to contact the police – or the press. However, a friend of his who was in the force convinced him to reach out.

“I was completely depressed about the whole thing,” he said. “The problem with these rural crimes like raptor persecution, is unless you’ve actually got somebody on film actually doing something it’s very hard to prove or corroborate anything. That’s when they get away with it.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson confirmed they were probing the destruction.

They said: “Around 10.15pm on Thursday, 26 January, 2023, officers received a report of vandalism at a country park in Edinburgh.

“Enquiries are ongoing.”